Four options

How to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11

Use these steps to upgrade to Windows 11 on a device already running Windows 10.

Windows 11 upgrade

You can upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10 for free using the official ISO file, Windows Update, Installation Assistant, and Insider Program. Windows 11 is the next generation of the OS based on Windows 10, but it now introduces a new look and a slew of new features and apps. 

Although Windows 11 is a free upgrade for existing devices running Windows 10, the hardware needs to meet the minimum requirements to continue with the installation process. In a nutshell, you will need an Intel’s 8th Gen or newer, AMD Zen 2 or newer, or Qualcomm 7 and 8 Series processor. This is in addition to the requirements of TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot and a minimum of 64GB of storage. 

Microsoft supports multiple paths to the new version. If the device meets the hardware requirements, you will receive a notification from Windows Update letting you know the upgrade is on the way. However, you will also be able to use the Installation Assistant to perform an in-place upgrade. Or you can download the ISO file to upgrade using a USB flash drive. (This time around, the Media Creation Tool is only available to create a USB flash drive or ISO file. You can no longer use it do an in-place upgrade)

In this guide, you will learn the steps to upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 in four different ways. You can also upgrade the system using a clean installation in six different ways.

Important: If you plan to upgrade an existing system, it is also recommended to create a backup before proceeding. You have been warned.

How to upgrade Windows 10 to 11 using ISO file

To upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10 with an ISO file, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Support website.

  2. Under the “Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)” section, select the Windows 11 option.

  3. Click the Download button.

  4. Select the installation language.

  5. Click the Confirm button.

  6. Click the Download button to save the Windows 11 ISO file on the device.

  7. Right-click the ISO file, select the Open with submenu, and choose the Windows Explorer option.

  8. Click on the mounted drive from the left navigation pane.

  9. Double-click the Setup file to begin the Windows 11 upgrade process.

  10. (Optional) Click the Change how Windows Setup downloads updates option.

    Windows 11 setup update options
    Windows 11 setup update options
  11. Select the Not right now option.

    Disable updates during installation
    Disable updates during installation
  12. Click the Next button.

  13. Click the Accept button to agree to the terms.

    Media Creation Tool settings
    Media Creation Tool settings
  14. Click the Install button to upgrade while keeping your files and apps.

If you want to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows 11, click the Change what to keep option, select the Nothing option, click the Next button, and then click the Install button.

After you complete the steps, the upgrade process will begin and the computer will restart several times. After the installation, you won’t need to go through the out-of-box experience (OOBE) to finish configuring Windows 11 because most of your previous settings, apps, and files will migrate automatically. (See also this video tutorial highlighting all the instructions in the Pureinfotech YouTube channel.)

How to upgrade Windows 10 to 11 using Windows Update

After Windows 11 is officially available sometime in October 2021, you can update manually to the new version, similarly to installing a feature update on Windows 10 using Windows Update.

To upgrade to Windows 11 manually from Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Windows Update.

  4. Click the Check for updates button.

    Windows 11 upgrade
    Windows 11 upgrade
  5. Click the Download and install button.

    Windows 11 upgrade via Windows Update

  6. Click the Restart now button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will install on the computer. (See also this video tutorial with the steps to upgrade using Windows Update.)

How to upgrade Windows 10 to 11 using Installation Assistant

Alternatively, you can also use the Installation Assistant to upgrade any version of Windows 10 to Windows 11 since the Media Creation Tool no longer offers the option to perform an in-place upgrade. (See also this video tutorial highlighting the steps to use the Installation Assistant tool to upgrade.)

To upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Support website.

  2. Under the “Windows 11 Installation Assistant” section, click the Download Now button.

  3. Double-click the Windows11InstallationAssistant.exe file to launch the tool.

    Windows 11 Update Assistant

  4. Click the Accept and install button.

After you complete the steps, the setup will continue upgrading your device to the new release of the operating system.

How to upgrade Windows 10 to 11 using Insider Program

If you want to test Windows 11 before it becomes available, you can enroll the computer in the Dev or Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program.

The “Dev Channel” is for highly technical users since builds are rough and contain code that is still under heavy development. Typically, previews in this channel are not stable, you will come across errors and problems, and you may have to use workarounds to fix issues that may affect your experience.

On the other hand, the “Beta Channel” is for anyone who wants to test upcoming features or needs to validate apps and deployments. The builds in this channel are stable, but you may still run into issues. Also, features included in this channel are expected to ship with the final version of Windows 11.

To upgrade to the latest preview of Windows 11 from Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Windows Insider Program.

  4. Click the Get started button.

    Join Windows Insider Program button
    Join the Windows Insider Program button
  5. Click the Link an account button.

    Link an account option
    Link an account option
  6. Sign in with your Microsoft account.

  7. Click the Continue button.

  8. Under the “Pick your Insider settings” section, select the Dev Channel or Beta Channel option.

  9. Click the Confirm button.

  10. Click the Confirm button to agree to the terms and conditions.

  11. Click the Restart button.

  12. Open Settings after the reboot.

  13. Click on Update & Security.

  14. Click on Windows Update.

  15. Click the Check for updates button.

    Windows 11 upgrade
    Windows 11 upgrade
  16. Click the Restart button.

Once you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and begin upgrading the device to Windows 11. You can also remove the computer from the program from the “Windows Insider Program” settings page to prevent upgrading to a follow-up version by turning on the “Stop getting preview builds” toggle switch.

October 6, 2021 update: Originally published in August 2021, and it’s been updated on October 6 to reflect the new changes.